Do you find yourself butting heads with someone? Maybe it’s with your husband, your wife, or your boss. You have a conversation … but it feels more like a tug-of-war. One person says something, then the other … and before you know it both of you feel frustrated. You both want to get your point across … you both want the other to understand … your view … you both want something … and neither one wants to give in to the other … neither one wants to be the one to concede the underlying fight … the underlying battle. However, unless one person chooses to become willing to yield … willing to submit… willing to surrender their need to be right … their need to have the last word … their need to have the final say … the end result will be like locking horns … with no way in sight of how to get untangled. You see, there can’t simultaneously be two heads … it will just lead to chaos, confusion, and catastrophe. That’s why there is usually a chain of command or an order to how things are run. Perhaps this is why the Bible says in Ephesians 5 that we need to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. When we are revering Christ we show that we are respecting His way of doing things … and His way of doing things is always rooted in love … the kind of love that is described in 1 Corinthians 13 … love that is not rude or self-seeking but, rather, love that is patient and kind. In any relationship both individuals need to be willing to submit … willing to yield to the other as necessary. This doesn’t make one person better than the other. This doesn’t make one person a doormat and the other person dominant. This makes both people responsible to care enough about the other person that they are willing to show true love … they are willing to let it go when a conversation becomes heated and it is clear it’s better to drop it rather than insist on being the one to be right … the one to win. In reality, the only way to win is to surrender. In that regard you are winning the war against animosity, anger, and anguish … you are winning by showing true love … you are winning by keeping your relationship with the other person intact … knowing that your relationship is worth far more than being right … far more than being the one to dominate. So, how in the world can you do this? How in the world can you find the strength of character to actually submit to one another and show that you are revering Christ’s way of doing things? Only through a personal relationship with Christ Himself. Only by allowing yourself to submit to Him so that His unconditional love will be able to flow through you to other people. You see, we can’t do it on our own … in our own strength and in our own power. Galatians 5:16 lets us know that when we yield our lives to the Holy Spirit we will not gratify the desires of our sinful nature … desires that include selfishness and bickering … desires that may make us feel good but are harmful to ourselves and others. So, the timeless truth for today is this: If you don’t want to butt heads with those you care about, lock horns with Jesus … connect yourself to Him in such a close and personal way that His love flows through you to other people … then you will truly be able to submit yourselves one to another and enjoy peace.
Have you ever been driving on a snowy, slippery back road out in the middle of nowhere when … all of a sudden … you felt the tires start to slide? Then, before you knew it, your whole vehicle started to head in a direction you weren’t planning on … right into the ditch. At the same time … at that precise moment … you realized you were out of control. You knew that, no matter what you did to try and steer away from danger, it would be pointless. The best you could hope for was to send up a prayer heavenward saying, “Jesus take the wheel,” realizing only He could protect you and only He could get you out of the mess you found yourself in. Spiritually speaking, we have a choice when we realize that we are out of control, but God is not. We can either be frustrated or we can be flexible … letting the Holy Spirit bend us towards God’s perfect will; towards His perfect plan (and towards His perfect peace). You see, God is in control. Everything happens “according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (as Ephesians 1:11 NIV tells us). We may think we are in control … we may do our best to plan, prepare, and figure things out on our own (using our own understanding oftentimes). However, the reality is only God is sovereign, only God is really in control. So, today, if you find yourself realizing you’re in a situation in which you have no control I have good news for you. Being out of control but trusting the One who is in control is the safest place you can be. When we entrust our hopes, dreams, plans … our very lives to the Master of the Universe; to the King of Kings; to the Lord of Heaven and Earth; to our faithful Father and best Friend … we can trust and believe that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (as Romans 8:28 NIV tells us). Therefore, be encouraged – God isn’t done yet! The best is yet to come!